Game Development Reference
The first step in the design phase is to develop the design strategy specification.
This specification describes whether the product will be developed by program-
mers employed by the company, whether the product will be outsourced to anoth-
er firm (usually a consulting firm), or whether the company will buy an existing
software package. This leads to the architecture specification, which describes the
hardware, software, and network infrastructure that will be used.
After the architecture specification is completed, the project team develops the
interface specification, which specifies how the users will interact with the system
(e.g. navigation methods such as menus, buttons, or command line input). Next,
the database and file specifications are developed, which define exactly what data
will be stored, including where it will be stored. Finally, the analysis team develops
the program specification, which defines the programs that need to be written and
exactly what each program will do.
All these specifications form the system specification deliverable that is handed to
the programming team for implementation.
This is the phase where the product is actually built. Notably, this phase gets the
most attention because it is the longest and most expensive part of the develop-
The first step in the implementation phase is construction, during which the prod-
uct is built and then tested to ensure that it performs the way it was designed.
Testing and quality assurance are the most critical steps in this phase, because the
cost of bugs can be immense. The majority of companies spend more time on
quality assurance than on the actual development of the product.
Once the product has passed acceptance, it is ready to be installed. If an existing
product was in place before this new one, both products move through conversion.
This is a process by which the old product is deactivated, and the new product is
The conversion process may be a direct cut-over approach (in which the new
product immediately replaces the old product), a phased approach (in which the
new product is installed in one division of the company as a trial before installing
it in the other divisions of the company), or a parallel approach (in which both the
old and new products are operated for a couple months until the support team is
sure there are no bugs in the new product).